“Let the hard things in life break you. Let them affect you. Let them change you.”

Via on Sep 16, 2012

 Once upon a time I broke my leg.

No big deal. Lots of people do.

For me, it was one of those defining moments where we decide how to look at life. Do we hide from pain or do we face it? Do we accept the present moment, or avoid it and distract ourselves from it? I decided, then, that I wanted to learn from the hard things in life. I realized that I would rather feel pain, than feel nothing. I would rather be weathered and shaped by life than closed off and unaffected.

Sometimes I still forget. I want a break. I want a do-over. I want to distract myself when something hurts. I want to think about the good moments instead.

But if I do that, I’m missing out. We can’t ever get to that right time where we have perfect balance and every thing is smooth sailing. We only have now, whatever it happens to be.

And that, in itself, makes all the difference.

Right now, we have the opportunity, the perfect space to be completely present. We have it over and over, and so often—we miss it.

Right now, my hair is wet from the shower. My feet are freezing. I’m hungry but I’ve waited so long post-workout to eat that I can’t figure out what I want and it’s making me grumpy.

A few minutes ago, I caught myself mumbling as I dressed, rolling over a past unhappy moment over and over in my mind. Then, I heard my children playing in the other room, laughing hysterically at something.

I looked out my window and saw a family of deer in my woods. I stood still and noticed my wet skin, goosebumpy and shivering. I listened to my children laughing. I realized the pain that I was causing myself in that moment wasn’t even real. This isn’t to say that we don’t have painful moments, but often “the most difficult times are the ones we give ourselves.”

When we look at and cling to the past, it’s mostly our perspective, our imagination, that we let affect us—with pleasure or pain. When we long for the future, for some other thing than right now, we are doing the same thing. Whether these projections make us feel good or bad, we’re missing out.

We need to be fully present, right now.

 

Source: thesilverpen.com via Elizabeth on Pinterest

Pema Chödrön Book Club returns this Tuesday with discussion of chapters 6, 7, & 8 of Start Where You Are.

Introduction

Week one: No Escape, No Problem

Week two: No Big Deal

Week three: Pulling Out the Rug

Week four: Let the World Speak for Itself

Week five: Poison as Medicine

About Kate Bartolotta

Kate Bartolotta is the strongest girl in the world. She is the love child of a pirate and a roller derby queen. She hails from the second star to the right. She doesn't know how to behave with all the apples and ibexes. She doesn't suffer from her eight million freckles, she loves them! Like a rolling stone, Kate gathers no moss. Kate loves kale, being barefoot, Dr. Seuss, singing too loudly, gallivanting, palindromes, blackberries and has far too many books for her own good. When she's not writing, you can find her practicing yoga, running in the woods, playing with her kids, devouring a book, planting dandelions, changing the world and doing her dishes. Kate does not play the accordion. She is a massage therapist, writer and a compassionate friend to all. This year Kate aspires to finally give up on learning to knit and will instead spend that time putting a little bit more of her heart on the page. Connect with Kate on Facebook and Twitter

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12 Responses to ““Let the hard things in life break you. Let them affect you. Let them change you.””

  1. Heather says:

    Pema Chodron is wonderful. I once read, "When everything falls apart"….it is like a bible on how to live. The ride is never over….so the poem is very fitting……Once we think we have it all figured out, "bam"..right in your face…or you think you can deal with this and that…so I have come know and believe let life happen….it is the best teacher of all.

  2. [...] “Let the hard things in life break you. Let them affect you. Let them change you.” (elephantjournal.com) [...]

  3. Venessa says:

    You don't need to escape from a problem rather face it and get affected, then only you will know how to get out of this problem. It is very difficult to judge a problem by just seeing others getting into it.

  4. My divorce. The passing of my beloved Lab. Years of dealing with my difficult grandmother. Blowing my knee out. All the most beautiful growing points for me. All my teachers. The “good” times also teachers, creating gratitude for the “bad” for balance and a big, fat window for awareness.

  5. [...] “Let the hard things in life break you. Let them affect you. Let them change you.” (elephantjournal.com) [...]

  6. Chantele says:

    My defining moment was about 6 inches lower, I completely understand. Thanks for sharing Kate.
    http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/03/practice-w

  7. [...] us “real.” It’s when all of our defenses and pretenses are worn away by life. It’s when we have allowed ourselves to be affected by all of it: What is REAL?” asked the Velveteen Rabbit one day… “Does it mean having things [...]

  8. [...] “Let the hard things in life break you. Let them affect you. Let them change you.” (elephantjournal.com) [...]

  9. [...] is there, standing guard, infusing your backbone with her power—and the first (and every) time your heart breaks and you have to peel yourself off of the floor, she is the invisible force of grace that keeps you from falling over [...]

  10. Keepingitreal says:

    Thank you so much for this. You are right that life gets hard, but staying present is important. I think I will bookmark this page and read it whenever I get lost.

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